MLS- Toronto FC

Grella on trial at Leeds, scores hat-trick in reserve match

When Mike Grella passed on the 2009 MLS draft, it was unclear where the Duke striker would test the professional soccer waters. It appears his quest for a professional contract has landed him in England.

Grella is on trial with Leeds United, and scored three goals in Leeds' reserve match against Barnsley on Tuesday. Leeds, once an English Premier League power, now plays in League 1, the English third division.

According to sources, Grella joined Leeds late last week and was in England last Thursday when the MLS Draft took place. Toronto FC, which was aware of Grella's Leeds trial, selected him with the 34th overall pick in the MLS Draft.

Grella holds an Italian passport, which allowed him to play in the Leeds reserve match. He is free to sign with the English club, and his Italian passport will allow him to sign anywhere in Europe he can secure a contract.

What do you think of Grella trying his hand at Leeds? Think he would have been better off in MLS? See him making it big in Europe? Think he will wash out and be playing for Toronto FC in a year?

Share your thoughts below.

  • I know what im talking about

    hahahaha…you guys are bashing Grella for trialing at LEEDS UNITED…first off think about this…I bet an mls team could not beat a 3rd division english team…really think about the MLS despite a few teams, there is absolutely no structure no systems, its a lot of possesion in the back then long balls are hit. Seriously you guys give this website no credit because of your comments….he is better off to be in Europe for one because its a more respected league, for 2 he can move to other clubs once he is ballin out at whatever club he signs with, thirdly any contract that MLS wanted Grella to sign was a 5 year deal…are you kidding me he would be 27 with what 200,000 grand in the bank?? maybe 300,000. haha 2 season over there he can make all of that, not to mention bonuses and the experience. None of you must of ever played soccer, and those who are hating on the attitude haha look at how many players went through DUKE who were great their first 2 years but faded off. It has nothing to do with them it was the coach….None of you know what you are talking about that are putting the negative out there….what do you have to say now?


  • Scott A

    If he performs, he’ll get noticed by bigger teams. MLS or Europe—it’s personal. So good luck to the guy


  • Scott A

    Oh and to those of you worrying/bitching about Grella not getting noticed on a third division side: You have to understand that Leeds is a bit of an anomaly like Nottingham Forest, but even more so. They have a huge fan base and this is reflected in their influence. Anyone who has spent significant time in England and pays attention to the soccer coverage–or even just watching Sky Sports News on FSC–can see much more attention being paid to Leeds United than most other League One sides. So bear that in mind


  • Al17

    Nottingham Forest isn’t anomaly. We’ve won Sh..t in Europe and have a storied history.
    Now, on to this kid. I hope it works out well for him. He’s got options and he’s taking advantage of them – God Bless him and Good Luck.


  • Dominghosa

    No matter how big Leeds is, it’s still in League One and I hope those scouts at the match take him out of League One and up to a higher division.


  • I know what im talking about

    all I know is that the MLS is not good for young players especially those who wait until there 22 to start their professional careers….they are punished for finishing school and then screwed over because they are not deemed Generation adidas…give me one talent that the MLS actually developed?? from the beginning there are none because noone has…Brek Shea and Josh Lambo are the experiments..what happened to carl bussey? jordan Stone? phil salyer?


  • senevada

    Leeds is down right now mostly because of idiotic financial leadership but to write them off as that “crap 3d division club” is simply ignorant. Leeds United happens to still be one of the biggest clubs in Europe and as much as any lower division club can be said to be a “sure thing” to get back to the Prem, Leeds would be top of the list.


  • fubar

    AGAIN – Lichaj redux? A good post from the Leeds Supporter who points out all of its attacking talent. HOWEVER, the striker/forward position is the MOST difficult position to fill in all of soccer.

    Attackers are worth their weight in gold. Look at Ibisevic going down at Hoffenheim. Now they are scrambling to find someone to fill the void and not finding anything to their liking during this window.

    It is disturbing to hear about his attitude. This is the same thing we saw with Feilhaber and you see what happened to him.

    I wouldn’t mind a bit of hazing if that’s what it takes to knock the kid down a peg or two in the area of humbleness. Or maybe he can take lessons from Altidore.

    But one thing that hasn’t been mentioned in all of these posts is his ability to get time on the pitch. Pulling splinters out of your arse will be hard for him to take.

    Having said all of this, I like the way Lichaj has paid his dues and is now getting looks from higher tier sides. So much so that Aston Villa HAD to extend his contract for two more seasons just to hold on to him.

    Grella wouldn’t get that in the MLS.


  • The Athority

    Wow 3 goals for the RESERVE team in the 3rd Division……..that’s like playing a Sunday game with your friends.


  • glen Leeds M.O.T

    if the lad has got a bad attitude he won`t last long in Leeds.We might aswell give him a chance he cost nothing and we might make a profit on him if he`s even a half decent player.n.y.cosmos who are they a tin pot team in a tin pot league mls is full of athelet`s not footballers thats why the best players in the u.s.a national team play outside the u.s.a grella has sussed this and had the balls to give it a go in europe good luck to him even if it`s not with Leeds.m.o.t


  • Kenneth Bates

    To the comment stating leeds average a attendance of 14,500 this season. Its nearer 23,000 which i’d say is higher than MLS.

    If he gets the deal, great move for him. More media coverage here so more chance of getting picked up if he decides to leave leeds


  • John

    Please remember that Leeds is a huge club that has insanse financial difficulties. League 1 team salaries are probably still higher than MLS team salaries. I would expect MLS teams to beat Leeds more times than not.

    I’m a believer that good MLS teams would do well in the Championship. However, Championship teams have much bigger payrolls than MLS teams (that’s not saying much).

    There is nothing wrong with this guy playing in League 1 for a team like Leeds. If he does well there he will move up the ladder. If he doesn’t, he won’t.

    Some folks seem to think this guy has an attitude problem. I’m willing to see him prove that he does in a professional environment. Good luck to him.


  • James


    I’m a Leeds fan. I saw the match yesterday (not at the game but Leeds broadcast reserve matches online) and thought he stood out as a class above anyone on the pitch. He seemed to have a good first touch, awareness, a few tricks and an eye for goal. However, it needs to be remembered that the “stiffs” are not especially competative and the standard of football is poor at best. It’s easy to stand out if you have a point to prove. That said, he’s definitely done enough for us to warrant having another look at the guy.

    The only thing that concerns me is the comments here about his apparent bad attitude. We’ve had a few players who fit this description over the last few years and could do with a few less, not one more!

    Nice to see a generally pretty well informed group over the waves. However, I must pull you up on one thing. Leeds avereaged around 27k a match last season and around close to mid 20’s this year. Not £14k!!

    Cheers chaps


  • glen Leeds M.O.T

    to this guy how old are you, you sound like a school kid, simple fact is mls soccer is way behind even the third tier in most european countries, you depend on has beens names to get noticed not the quality of football, you may get there one day but it won`t be any time soon because the attitude of the americans is we can`t beat it kill it or change the rules


  • Fred

    Watched Mike last night. Good to see him score three, if keeps on scoring he will get his chance. Hope the young lad lives his dream.


  • John

    After seeing this Grella kid play, one undeniable fact cannot be ignored…he’s got mad skill. As for his attitude, I think there are a lot of haters out there. Give the bloke a go! Fresh new team, fresh new start. Leeds would be lucky to have someone of his caliber.


  • Barackthehouse

    To Sterlinho’s comment about Grella playing for Italy -I don’t get it? Doesn’t this kid have Italian heritage? Why shouldn’t he try for an Italian team if given the opportunity, especially with a EU passport.

    To Tarheel Brian’s comment…an internal hater obviously. Were you a scorned Duke player that’s just jealous of someone else’s skills? I read that his scoring record for Duke far surpassed other players…seemed to me that if it weren’t for him Duke wouldn’t have done as well over the last few years.

    This guy’s got talent, and going to Europe to showcase it is an advantage. MLS, though they have their plus sides, cannot replace what a European experience and career can bring. One trial game and everyone’s already talking about him.

    I wish him all the best, whatever he decides.


  • papa bear

    I understand wanting to go to Europe to get a contract with ‘real money’ but the English thrid division really pays crap; far worsre than most realize. On top of that it is exceedingly difficult to make a jump up to the Prem from there. The Colaship pays decent but he’d have to really light it up to move up there either. A lot of people are trying to play in England (but for how long who knows? They are facing the same problems they faced in the 80’s and by this time next year who knows what could happen?)

    Best of luck to him but I have a feeling he’ll be testing his wares stateside sooner rather than later as it has been proving to be the better launching board to a bigger league in Europe than going the ‘play in 5th division football and pray’ route has.


  • waccoe

    Obviously mr. papa bear don’t have a clue what he’s talking about: Average basic salary in English League One (3rd tier) in 2006 was £67,850 ($94,415.14). source: http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/news-and-comment/163676000-the-average-salary-of-a-premiership-footballer-in-2006-473659.html

    That was three years ago so I’m sure the salaries have gone up at least 15-20% from that. Given that Leeds is the biggest club in the league, I would suspect they also pay above the average.

    Best wishes for the kid, but there still sure is a long way to go from scoring a hat trick in a reserve game to a regular first team spot.


  • glen Leeds M.O.T

    hope the kid signs for us after his hat-trick if he makes the first team and can hold his own he`ll soon be on big money either at leeds or somewhere else in england or on the continant if he bombs he`ll be back to the states hope he succeeds for having the bottle to give it a go


  • Peter

    Nothing more cringe worthy than Yanks talking about ‘Soccer’. The English Third tier is a pretty good standard , certainly better than the MLS dross. Leeds are a major major club – one of the biggest in England and have competed for European honours on numerous occasions during their history including two semi-finals in two years at the turn of the century. They will be back in the Premier League within five years, Grella would be so foolish to turn down a lucrative contract at Elland Road in favour of playing on the MLS franchise circuit. Leeds’ average attendance is closer to 24k than the 14k mentioned above. Get your facts right and educate yourself before spouting sh*te on forums!


  • I know what im talking about

    Bottom Line is this…None of you are playing professional soccer and if i were a betting man none of you even got close to it. Most of you are hating on Grella for his attitude hahahahahahaha…..what exactly do you know about this kid???what has he done or said to warrant any of these comments?? I will smash your two argument…Those who saw him at Duke are probably gonna say he yells at the officials and his teammates.. Simply put only about 4 or 5 kids on that team were good enough to play with him. And those 4 or 5 kids were thinking the same as him but just didnt say anything. Who cares about yelling at the officials, maybe a couple red cards but i bet he knows that he messed up and if i were betting that probably wont even come out again especially on trial with a bunch of people he doesnt know. I would love to hear your rebuttle….


  • glen Leeds M.O.T

    Leeds have hosted the top five crowds in lg1 this season

    LEEDS V Leicester 33,850

    ” v huddersfield 32,021

    ” v walsall 26,422

    ” v hereford 25,676

    ” v oldham 24,631

    a big enough club for grella a big enough club for the prem tell me an mls club with crowds like that on a regular basis


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